The Alchemy of Religion

MAN IS A DILEMMA, BECAUSE MAN IS A DUALITY. Man is not one single being: man is the past and the future. The past means the animal, and the future means the divine. And between the two is the present moment, between the two is man’s existence — divided, torn apart, pulled in diametrically opposite directions. If man looks backwards he is an animal. That’s why science cannot believe that man is anything more — just another animal — because science only searches into the past. Charles Darwin and others, they are right that man is born of the animals. It is true about the past, but it is not true about man’s totality.

Religion looks into the possible, into that which can happen and has not yet happened. Science dissects the seed and cannot find any flowers there. Religion is visionary, it dreams — and is capable of seeing that which has not happened yet: the flower. Of course, it cannot be found, that flower cannot be found, by dissecting the seed. It needs great insight, not capacity to analyse, but some intuitive flight, some vision, some poetic approach. It needs a real dreamer who can see that which has not happened yet. Religion looks into the possible and finds man is not an animal, but divine:

man is God — both are true. The conflict is baseless. The conflict between science and religion is futile. Their directions, their methods of work, their fields, are totally different. Science always reduces everything to the source, and religion always takes a flight to the goal. Man is both, hence man is a dilemma, a constant anxiety: to be or not to be, to be this or to be that?

Man can find peace only in two ways: either he becomes an animal again — then he will be one, then there will be no division, then again there will be peace, silence, harmony…. And that’s why millions of people try to be animals in different ways. War gives a chance for man to become animal; hence war has great attraction. In three thousand years’ history man has fought five thousand wars — continuously, somewhere or other, the war continues. Not even a single day passes when man is not killing other men.

Why such tremendous joy in destruction, in killing? The reason is deep down in the psychology of man. The moment you kill, suddenly you are one; you become the animal again, the duality disappears. Hence, in murder, in suicide, there is a tremendous magnetic force. Man cannot be persuaded yet to be non-violent. Violence erupts. Names change, slogans change, but the violence remains the same.

It may be in the name of religion, in the name of political ideology, or any absurd thing — a football match is enough for people to get violent, a cricket match is enough.

People are so much interested in violence that if they cannot do it themselves — because it is risky and they think of the consequences — they find vicarious ways to be violent. In a movie, or on the TV, violence is a must; without violence, nobody is going to see the film. Seeing violence and blood, suddenly you are reminded of your animal past; you forget your present, you completely forget your future — you become your past. You become identified; what is happening on the screen somehow becomes your own life. You are no more a spectator — in those moments you become a participant, you fall en rapport. Violence has great attraction. Sexuality has great attraction, because it is only in sexual moments that you can become one; otherwise you remain two, divided, and the anxiety and the anguish persist. Violence, sex, drugs, they all help you, at Least for the time being, temporarily, to fall back, to become all animal. But this cannot become a permanent state of affairs.

One fundamental law has to be understood: nothing can go backwards. At the most you can pretend, at the most you can deceive, but nothing can go backwards because time does not move backwards. Time always goes ahead. You cannot reduce a young man to a child, and you cannot reduce an old man to a young man — it is impossible. The tree cannot be reduced back to the original seed — it is impossible. Evolution goes on and on and there is no way to prevent it or to force it backwards. Hence all efforts of men to become animals and find peace are doomed to fail. You can be drunk through alcohol or through other drugs — marijuana, LSD — you can be completely drowned. For the moment all the worries disappear, for the moment you are no more part of a problematic existence, for the moment you move in a totally different dimension — but for the moment only.

Tomorrow morning you will be back, and when you are back the world is going to be more ugly than it ever was before, and life is going to be more of a problem than it ever was before. Because while you were intoxicated, unconscious, asleep in the drug, the problems were growing. The problems were becoming more and more complicated. While you were thinking that you had gone beyond the problems, the problems were taking root more in your being, in your unconscious. Tomorrow again you will be back in the same world — it will look more ugly compared to the peace that you had attained by reduction, by intoxication, by forgetfulness. Compared to that peace, the world will look even more dangerous, more complex, more scary. And then the only way is: go on increasing the doses of your drug. But that too does not help for long. And this is no way to get out of the dilemma. The dilemma remains, persists.

The only way is to grow towards the divine, the only way is forwards. The only way is to become that which is your potential — the only way is to transform the potential into the actual.

MAN IS POTENTIAL GOD, and unless he becomes actual God there is no possibility of contentment. People have tried that too: How to become divine? And becoming divine, what to do with the animal? The simplest solution that has appeared again and again down the ages is: repress the animal. It is the same solution; either repress the divine — through violence, through sex, through drugs — forget about the divine. That is one solution — which never succeeds, cannot succeed; in the very nature of things it is bound to fail. Then the second suggestion that comes to the mind is: repress the animal, forget the animal; keep the animal at the back, don’t look at it. Throw it deep down in the basement of your unconscious so you don’t come across it in your daily life, so you don’t see it.

Man thinks almost in the same way as the ostrich. The ostrich thinks if he cannot see the enemy, the enemy does not exist. Hence, when the ostrich encounters the enemy he simply closes his eyes. By closing his eyes he thinks now there is no enemy because he cannot see him…

That ninety-nine percent of religious people has been doing something utterly wrong — just the same logic. The same logic that is being followed by the violent people, the sexual people, the alcoholics. The same kind of logic: forget the animal. Many techniques have been developed to forget the animal: chant mantras so that you can forget the animal, become occupied in chanting; go on repeating “Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama.” Repeat it so fast that your whole mind be-comes full of the vibe of this single word ‘Rama’. This is simply a way to avoid the animal — and the animal is there. You can go on chanting Rama for centuries… the animal is not going to be changed by such a simple trick. You cannot deceive the animal. It will remain only a very superficial religiousness. Scratch any religious man and you will find the animal inside; just scratch a little. It is not even skin-deep, the so-called religiousness. It only pretends, it is only a formality, a social ritual.

You go to the church, you read the Bible, you read the Gita, you do chanting, you do prayer, but it is all formal. Your heart is not in it. And your animal inside goes on laughing at you, he ridicules you. He knows you perfectly well, who you are, where you are. And he knows how to manipulate you. You can go on chanting for hours, and then a beautiful woman passes by and suddenly all chanting disappears and you have forgotten all about God. Just the smell from the bakery… and all is gone; Hare Krishna Rama, all is gone. Just any small thing is enough! Somebody insults you and there is anger, and the animal is ready to take revenge, you are in a rage. In fact, religious people become more angry than anybody else — because others don’t repress. And religious people are more sexually perverted than anybody else, because others don’t repress. The religious person’s dreams have to be watched, because in the day he can go on repressing, but what about the night when he is asleep?

Mahatma Gandhi wrote that even at the age of seventy he was having sexual dreams. At the age of seventy, why sexual dreams? He said, “In the day I have become disciplined — the whole day not even a single thought of sex comes to me. But in the night I am incapable, I am unconscious, so the whole discipline and control disappears.” Sigmund Freud’s insight is very valuable, that to know about a man you have to know his dreams, not his waking life. His waking life is pseudo. His real life asserts itself in his dreams, because his dreams are more natural — no repression, no discipline, no control. Hence, psychoanalysis does not bother about your waking life. Just see the point: your waking life is so pseudo that psychoanalysis does not believe in it at all. It is worthless. Psychoanalysis penetrates into your dreams because dreams are far truer than your so-called waking life.

This is ironical that the waking life, which we think is real life is not thought by psychoanalysis to be real; it is thought to be more unreal than your dreams. Your dreams are far more real, because you are not there to distort, you are fast asleep; the conscious mind is asleep and the unconscious is free to have its say. And the unconscious is your true mind, because the conscious is only one tenth of your total mind. Nine tenths is the unconscious — nine times more powerful, nine times bigger than your conscious mind. And what will you do when you are fighting with your sexuality, anger, greed? You will go on throwing them into the unconscious, into the darkness of the basement, thinking that by not seeing them you are getting rid of them. You are not getting rid of them. Not even a man like Mahatma Gandhi… what to say about small mahatmas like Morarji Desai etc.

A man like Mahatma Gandhi continued to have sexual dreams. That simply shows that his whole effort in the waking life was futile, that whatsoever he was trying to do in the waking life was of no use. And he recognized it — at the very end of his life he recognized the whole futility of his discipline. His whole life had been a wastage; he recognized it. And in the end, just before he died, for two years he was experimenting with the science of Tantra. It is not talked about, not at least by the Gandhians — they are very much afraid of those two years. He was advised by his followers, “Please, don’t do such experiments.” You will be surprised, even Morarji Desai had advised him, “Don’t do such experiments!” Why? They were afraid about the prestige of the Mahatma. They were afraid about themselves too. But he was a man of courage; howsoever wrong, he was a sincere man. He had the courage to accept that his effort of disciplining according to the traditional way had failed. In the last two years he was sleeping with naked women — just for the first time not repressing but expressing, being loving, open, for the first time not on guard…

Ninety-nine percent of religious people go on repressing, and whenever you repress something it goes deeper in you, it becomes more a part of your being. And it starts affecting you in such subtle ways that you may not even be aware of it.

It takes very devious routes: it cannot come in direct ways because if it comes directly, you Repress it. Then it comes in such subtle ways, such devious ways, such deceptive ways, with masks, that you cannot even recognize that it is sexuality. It can even use masks of prayer, of love, of religious ritual. But if you go deep down, if you allow yourself to be exposed to somebody who can observe and who understands the inner functioning of your mind, you will be surprised that it is the same energy moving through different channels. It has to move through different channels, because no energy can ever be repressed.

Let it be understood once and for all: no energy can ever be repressed. Energy can be transformed, but never repressed. The real religion consists of alchemy, of transforming techniques, methods. The real religion consists not of repressing the animal but of purifying the animal, of raising the animal to the divine, using the animal, riding on the animal to go to the divine. It can become a tremendously powerful vehicle, because it is power. Sex can be used as a great energy — you call ride on it to the very door of God. But if you repress it you will become more and more entangled. This is a very modern approach, but the sutras of Kabir will say to you that what Sigmund Freud discovered is not a discovery — it is only a discovery in the West. As far as the East is concerned, it is an ancient truth. The sages have always known about it.


This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune. 

Discourse Series: The Fish in the Sea is Not Thirsty

Chapter #13

Chapter title: Very Few Find the Path

23 April 1979 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on Religion, energy, transformation, alchemyin many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. Beyond Psychology
  2. Christianity: The Deadliest Poison and Zen: The Antidote to All Poisons
  3. From Darkness to Light
  4. From Ignorance to Innocence
  5. Sermons in Stones
  6. Take It Easy, Vol 1, 2
  7. Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 2, 7, 8, 9
  8. Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 3
  9. The Discipline of Transcendence, Vol 2, 3
  10. Light on the Path
  11. The Secret of Secrets, Vol 1, 2
  12. Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1, 2
  13. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 2, 5, 8, 9
  14. The Ultimate Alchemy, Vol 2
  15. The Book of Wisdom

Leave a comment